Hawaii residents have many beloved holiday traditions. We visit Honolulu
Hale before Christmas and flock by the thousands to Ala Moana Beach Park
to watch the annual Fourth of July fireworks display. And in addition
to pounding mochi and eating ozoni (traditional Japanese soup) every New
Year's, each year kamaaina blanket the city sky with smoke, setting
off fireworks by the trunk-load.
To ring in 2011 and the last year before a consumer fireworks ban took
effect on January 2, Oahu residents lit up the night's sky –
first responders were called to 36 fires and at least five injuries which
were believed to have been fireworks-related. The most serious injury
took place when an aerial firework exploded in a man's hand, leaving
him in critical condition.
Earlier this year, the new island-wide fireworks ordinance put heavy restrictions
on aerials and pyrotechnics - including fountains, sparklers, sprinklers
and other consumer fireworks. The 2012 New Year will be the first New
Year celebration where the law will be in effect, which aims at cutting
the number of fireworks-related injuries, reducing asthma attacks as well
as other air quality-related health issues and decreasing the litter resulting
from fireworks debris.
This year, fireworks permits are available for purchase for $25 through the
Honolulu Fire Department (HFD) and at
Satellite City Halls, allowing residents ages 18 years and older to set off up to 5,000 firecrackers.
Even with the permit however, fireworks can only be set off on designated
holidays including New Year's Eve, Chinese New Year, Fourth of July
and other cultural events approved by the HFD on a case-by-case basis.
If you have questions or concerns about Oahu's new fireworks law,
Honolulu Fire Department's Fire Prevention Bureau at (808) 723-7162.
This year, before gathering round the driveway with family and friends,
remember some of the safety tips offered by the Honolulu Fire Department
regarding the use of fireworks:
- Use only approved fireworks from a licensed retail outlet that has posted
their retail permit at their selling site.
- Always read and follow all warnings and instructions listed by the manufacturer
for the safe use and handling of fireworks.
- Ensure that other people are out of range before lighting fireworks. Only
light fireworks on a smooth, flat surface away from the house, dry leaves,
and flammable materials.
- Have a garden hose or a bucket of water ready in case of a fire.
- Children should only use fireworks under the direct supervision of an adult.
Even sparklers can be dangerous to small children.
We hope that you and your family have a fun, festive and above all, safe
holiday season. On behalf Leavitt Yamane & Soldner and our families,
we wish you and yours Hau'oli Makahiki Hou (Happy New Year).